Perhaps the quest for the right “box car red” is futile, due to weathering, as these Jack Delano photographs show (circa 1943)…

There are a few cars in these photos that look newly painted, but the rest pretty much meld into a faded and grimy mass – “the great unwashed“.

The reality of the prototype as seen above, to me, is not attractive in scale. So, the question is: render reality or a mildly artistic, yet believable, version of it?

I’m not keen on modeling a newish clean car, as shown in the pictures above. They look out of place to me. I also think that many heavily blackened cars and those with pinkish faded paint don’t look good in scale either. As for fading, I tend to use yellow or sand instead, resulting in a more orangy appearance. I also prefer to be more on the subtle side of weathering. That’s just me and I know it’s not strictly prototypical – the above pictures prove it.

Here is how I prefer to render cars in “box car red”…

These are all weathered using the same process, which is fairly straight forward, with just a variation in how much weathering was applied. I will, in forthcoming posts, show an example of this process on a Westerfield AT&SF Bx-14 box car.